It takes a whole day to ride a train from Munich, Germany, to the North Sea. Germany spans three distinct cultural areas, the mountainous south lined with dark forests and half-timbered houses everyone seems to associate with the country. This is where Lederhosen, Oktoberfest, and the Alps are. It’s also the only part of the country that (sometimes) yodels.
Central Germany is still pretty forest-y and has some beautiful hilly ranges of its own, but this is where you’ll find Frankfurt, Leipzig, Berlin, Dresden, Cologne, and many other cities fundamental to the country’s history.
The north is more Viking/Frisian than German. Hamburg and Bremen, and of course, the wadden sea, a coastline so flat, the ocean withdraws for miles, not just meters, during ebb. As we enter the north, the country goes flat. Where this morning the sun rose over 10’000 ft mountains, bathing them in a golden red sheen, we can now see for miles. The landscape is dotted with small channels and seaways, a major form of transportation up here, and a stiff wind blows over the often barren fields. Houses are as flat as the land, red, and often feature asymmetrical gables.
I arrived at my destination just as all trains came to a standstill.
What is the wanderer to do if a general train strike paralyzes the non-car-driving populace? Go Geocaching, of course.
Welcome to Emden, one of Germany’s more northern jewels. Founded some time before 800 CE, it was independent, part of the Dutch empire, part of France, and since 1871 part of the newly founded German Empire. Throughout times, it was one of the most important trade and shipping centers of whichever flag it flew, and an independent trade outpost when it flew its own.
I recently started completing Adventure Lab caches. Unlike traditional Geocaches (if you’re not familiar with those, I highly recommend giving it a try), those are more guided Mystery Tours with small riddles to solve at each stop. Most are 30 minutes to an hour and often showcase a new city or town in a way few tourists experience.
Today’s walk led me down the old harbor and past the former herring and pelt manufacturing and packing plants. Few remains after the town was bombed heavily by allied aircraft in an attempt to stem the tide of boats and ships departing from here.
Tomorrow I’ll probably take a boat ride along the old grachts (waterways) and Sunday I’ll go see a tower. Seriously, that one’s pretty dope and you should really check it out then.
The weather is steady at around 17°C with little rain so far today (yesterday was a different story).
What I learned today: you can see the sunrise over the alps and the sunset over the ocean. Unless you trust German Rail. Then you’ll be six hours too late for that.